Cony-Catching - The third and last part of Cony-catching with the new devised knavish art of Fool-taking.

The third and last part of Cony-catching with the new devised knavish art of Fool-taking.

            BEING by chance invited to supper, where were present divers, both of worship and good account, as occasion served for intercourse of talk, the present treacheries and wicked devices of the world was called in question. Amongst other most hateful and well worthy reprehension, the wondrous villainies of loose and lewd persons, that bear the shape of men, yet are monsters in condition, was specially remembered, and not only they, but their complices, their confederates, their base natured women and close compacters were noted: Namely, such as term themselves cony-catchers, cross-biters, with their appertaining names to their several cozening qualities, as already is made known to the world, by two several imprinted books, by means whereof, the present kind of conference was occasioned. Quoth a gentleman sitting at the table, whose deep step into age deciphered his experience, and whose gravity in speech reported his discretion, quoth he, by the two published books of cony-catching: I have seen divers things wherof I was before ignorant, notwithstanding, had I been acquainted with the author, I could have given him such notes of notorious matters that way intenting, as in neither of the pamphlets are the like set down. Beside, they are so necessary to be known, as they will both fore-arm any man against such treacherous vipers, and forewarn the simpler sort from conversing with them. The gentleman being known to be within commission of the peace, and that what he spake of either came to him by examinations, or by riding in the circuits as other like officers do: was entreated by one man above the rest (as his leisure served him) to acquaint him with those notes, and he would so bring it to pass, as the writer of the other two books, should have the sight of them, and if their quantity would serve, that he should publish them as a third, and more necessary part than the former were. The gentleman replied, all such notes as I speak, are not of mine own knowledge, yet from such men have I received them, as I dare assure their truth: and but that by naming men wronged by such mates, more displeasure would ensue than were expedient, I could set down both time, place and parties. But the certainty shall suffice without any such offence. As for such as shall see their injuries discovered, and (biting the lip) say to themselves, thus was I made a cony: their names being shadowed, they have no cause of anger, in that the example of their honest simplicity beguiled, may shield a number more endangered from tasting the like. And seeing you have promised to make them known to the author of the former two books, you shall the sooner obtain your request: assuring him thus much upon my credit and honesty, that no one untruth is in the notes, but every one credible, and to be justified if need serve. Within a fortnight or thereabout afterward, the gentleman performed his promise, in several papers sent the notes, which here are in our book compiled together: when thou hast read, say, if ever thou heardest more notable villainies discovered. And if thou or thy friends receive any good by them, as it cannot be but they will make a number more careful of themselves: thank the honest gentleman for his notes, and the writer that published both the other and these, for general example.

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